‘No; I almost wished you had, as I wished you had looked unpolished. Your father, Caroline, naturally spoke well, quite otherwise than your worthy uncle—correctly, gently, smoothly. You inherit the gift.’

‘Poor papa! When he was so agreeable, why was he not good?’

‘Why he was as he was—and, happily, of that you, child, can form no conception—I cannot tell; it is a deep mystery. The key is in the hands of his Maker; there I leave it.’

‘Mamma, you will keep stitching, stitching away. Put down the sewing; I am an enemy to it. It cumbers your lap, and I want it for my head; it engages your eyes, and I want them for a book. Here is your favourite—Cowper.’

These importunities were the mother’s pleasure. If ever she delayed compliance, it was only to hear them repeated, and to enjoy her child’s soft, half-playful, half-petulant urgency. And then, when she yielded, Caroline would say archly:

‘You will spoil me, mamma. I always thought I should like to be spoiled, and I find it very sweet.’

So did Mrs. Pryor.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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